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Active Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

sweetchaos

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I'm constantly asked which speakers to purchase...so, here you go! :D

This guide is for ACTIVE speakers. For PASSIVE speakers go here.

What market are these recommendations for?
USA, with USD prices listed below

Does this include discontinued speakers?
No, since i'm only counting speakers that are currently sold at major retailers/resellers in the US.

What is the preference score?
The preference score (introduced by Sean Olive) (also sometimes called "Olive score") is the best science-based representation we have on how to classify whether a speaker (either active or passive) is preferred or not. A more neutral speaker will get the best preference score, and will likely win in a blind listening test, comparing two speakers. You can read about it here.

What are the limitations of the preference score?
1. Distortion handling
Amir and Erin talk about this in their reviews, so you can take a look there.
Distortion handling of a loudspeaker is usually secondary to frequency response. Meaning, a great frequency response and poor distortion handling speaker will still be preferred over a poor frequency response speaker with great distortion handling. A great example of this is the fact that JBL 305P/306P/308P MKII speakers have higher-than-normal distortion, but because of their relatively neutral frequency response, a lot of people still enjoy them.
2. Loudness handling
Amir and Erin talk about this in their reviews, so you can take a look there.
In terms of loudness handling, I've made a few notes to speakers below.
3. Your own preference for wide or narrow directivity
In terms of directivity, I haven't added this information below, but I could if enough people show interest.

Accuracy of data:
There are a few speakers in this list that weren't measured using Klippel NFS (that Amir and Erin have), which provides very accurate spinorama. A less accurate (in terms of resolution) spinorama can be made using quasi-anechoic methods as described in this post.
If you see * => We have quasi-anechoic spinorama or similar, but the speaker wasn't measured using Klippel NFS.

Are you biased in any way?
I purchased JBL 305P MKII prior to joining ASR, and Genelec 8040B last year after I read a few Genelec reviews. Read into that what you will.

How did you make this list?
I looked at all the speaker spinorama that we have and their computed preference score and compiled this list.
I also mention a few speakers of note, and talk about which speakers to avoid at a certain price point, based on my own understanding.

What is the limitation of this guide?
Blind reliance on measurements can be misleading ‐ one needs to tie those measurements back to subjective perception. Amir and Erin both give their overall opinion on speakers, so feel free to read the written reviews.

What am I showing?
Top 3 speakers in terms of preference score, plus other worthy picks.

Potential further improvements:
- Add speakers recommendations that ignore the bass output, and assume you're going to get a subwoofer to extend the bass down to 20hz. Is this interesting?

ACTIVE SPEAKERS / STUDIO MONITORS:
1637450341475.png

This is the Mesanovic RTM10, the best measuring active speaker.

LEGEND:
ValueDescription
#1Best rated-speaker in terms of preference score. Update: I set the threshold at 3.0, ignoring speakers below it.
#22nd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
#33rd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
WorthyWorthy picks that either Erin or Amir measured and recommended. Plus a few models that weren't measured but still for consideration, since we can predict will be good, based on similar model's measurements.
PSPreference Score (with no subwoofer added). Value can be negative (for really badly designed speakers) and goes up to a 10 (theoretical limit). Higher is better.
LFXLow Frequency Extension (in hz). This is the bass output at -6db point. This was computed, not estimated. Lower is better.
AmplifiersAmount of amplifier (amp) power (in watts). If 1 value, it's a single amp. If 2 values, first is woofer amp, and then tweeter amp. If 3 values, first is woofer amp, then midrange amp, then tweeter amp. Amp is per speaker. Didn't make a distinction between peak or RMS power, so not 100% consistent between vendors. Higher is better.
Amplifiers (Link)"Response Linearity" Test that Erin performs. Also called "Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)". Link to his website.
*We have quasi-anechoic spinorama or similar. However, this speaker wasn't measured using Klippel NFS (that Amir and Erin have), so it's resolution is less accurate. Warning: This will artificially boost the preference score higher than if the same speaker was measured using NFS.


UPCOMING REVIEWS (announced):
SpeakerCostReviewer
Neumann KH420$5000/eaAmir
Vanatoo Transparent One Encore$540/pairAmir
Behringer B2031A$200/eaAmir
Kanto YU4$320/pairAmir
RCF Ayra Pro 5$150/eaAmir
Edifier G2000$66/pairAmir
Syng Cell Alpha$1800/eaErin

-----



Active Speakers Under US$150/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2Edifier MR4 (Amir)3.858?
#3Monoprice MM-3 (Erin)3.35015 & 8 (Erin=N/a)

Active Speakers Under US$200/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2Edifier MR4 (Amir)3.858?
#3Fostex PM0.3 (Amir)3.487?

Active Speakers Under US$300/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor4.0*49*18 & 7
#3Edifier MR4 (Amir)3.858?

Active Speakers Under US$350/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Pioneer DJ VM-50 (Erin)5.14830 & 30 (Erin)
#2JBL 305P MKII (Amir) (Erin)5.04341 & 41
#3Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)

Active Speakers Under US$400/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3Pioneer DJ VM-50 (Erin)5.14830 & 30 (Erin)
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$450/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 306P MKII (Amir)5.13856 & 56
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$550/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)5.44180 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$800/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$1000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
#2Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#3Dynaudio LYD 5 (Amir)5.75850 & 50
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$1400/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Genelec 8030C (Amir)6.34650 & 50
#2Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
#3Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$1500/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#2Genelec 8030C (Amir)6.34650 & 50
#3Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$2200/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8030C (Amir)6.34650 & 50
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$2400/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8040B6.3**36**90 & 90
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
** We have no spinorama for Genelec 8040B, so I estimated the preference score and LFX score. I'm including it because we have Genelec 8030/8050 spinorama, so it's not a stretch to predict this.

Active Speakers Under US$2800/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8040B6.3**36**90 & 90
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
** We have no spinorama for Genelec 8040B, so I estimated the preference score and LFX score. I'm including it because we have Genelec 8030/8050 spinorama, so it's not a stretch to predict this.

Active Speakers Under US$3000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8040B6.3**36**90 & 90
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
** We have no spinorama for Genelec 8040B, so I estimated the preference score and LFX score. I'm including it because we have Genelec 8030/8050 spinorama, so it's not a stretch to predict this.

Active Speakers Under US$3800/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$4500/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8331A6.7**46**72 & 36 & 36
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
** We have no spinorama for Genelec 8331A, so I estimated the preference score and LFX score. I'm including it because we have Genelec 8341/8351/8361 spinorama, so it's not a stretch to predict this.

Active Speakers Under US$4600/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#2Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
#3Genelec 8331A6.7**46**72 & 36 & 36
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
** We have no spinorama for Genelec 8331A, so I estimated the preference score and LFX score. I'm including it because we have Genelec 8341/8351/8361 spinorama, so it's not a stretch to predict this.

Active Speakers Under US$5900/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.835250 & 150 & 150
#2JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
#3Neumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$6700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFX
Amplifiers
#1GGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
#2Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.835250 & 150 & 150
#3JBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$7900/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Mesanovic RTM107.6*23*250 & 250 & 100
#2GGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
#3Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.835250 & 150 & 150
WorthyJBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)

Worthy
Kali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$8000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Mesanovic RTM107.6*23*250 & 250 & 100
#2GGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
#3Genelec 8351B (Amir)7.029250 & 150 & 150
WorthyJBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$10,000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Mesanovic RTM107.6*23*250 & 250 & 100
#2GGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
#3Genelec 8351B (Amir) [See 8361A]7.029250 & 150 & 150
WorthyGenelec 8361A (Amir)6.827500 & 150 & 150
WorthyJBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150& 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$12,500/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Mesanovic RTM107.6*23*250 & 250 & 100
#2Dutch Dutch 8C (Erin)7.420500 & 250 & 250 (Erin)
#3GGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
WorthyGenelec 8361A (Amir)6.827500 & 150 & 150
WorthyJBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20

Active Speakers Under US$15,000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kii Three (Erin)7.720(250*4) & 250 & 250 (Erin)
#2Mesanovic RTM107.6*23*250 & 250 & 100
#3Dutch Dutch 8C (Erin)7.420500 & 250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyGGNTKT M17.1*29*210 & 70
WorthyGenelec 8361A (Amir)6.827500 & 150 & 150
WorthyJBL 4305P6.8*38*125 & 25
WorthyNeumann KH 120A6.7*42*80 & 50
WorthyGenelec 8050B (Amir)6.327150 & 120
WorthyNeumann KH 310A (Amir)6.230150 & 70 & 70
WorthyNeumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
WorthyKef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin)5.842250 & 100 (Erin)
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyFocal Solo6 Be (Amir)5.143150 & 100
WorthyJBL 708P (Amir) (Erin)4.938250 & 250 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
I hope that helps. :D

Same guide, but for passive speakers is here.

Changelog:
- 2021-11-19: Launched.
- 2021-11-19: I've added a new price point (under US$2800/pair) for the Kef LS50 Wireless 2's, as well as removed Kali's recommendations for $3800/pair, and $4000/pair, and replaced with the Kefs.
- 2021-11-20: Re-organized the tables (too many words last time) for a cleaner look. Added top 3rd pick (previously only 2 top picks). Removed "Best bass speakers", since some of the recommendations of lower preference score speakers didn't make much sense, and since I've added top 3rd pick, I think this is a good compromise. Fixed several mistakes, forgetting to recommend a few Genelec models.
- 2021-11-20: Based on community feedback (posts 27,28), the Neumann KH 120A are no longer recommended above US$3800/pair, since JBL 708P exists.
- 2021-11-20: Added links to reviews by Amir and Erin
- 2021-11-22: Added missing worthy picks. Overall, previously "highly recommended" speakers are now carried forward in price brackets. This expands the number of recommendations as you go up in price brackets.
- 2021-11-23: Added amplifier column. Obviously, this is not an apples to apples comparison, but it's a step in the direction.
- 2021-11-23: Added Erin's Response Linearity test links
- 2021-11-23: Added upcoming reviews
- 2021-11-25: Removed Edifier R1280t, Mackie CR3-X, and Presonus Eris 3.5 from the list, because they fall below preference score of 3.0. As I've explained in post 61, and 63, these speakers ultimately lose to Neumi BS5P (preference score of 4.2), which is only $30 more. This also shows that we need more speakers tested under US$150/pair price point.
- 2021-11-30: Added Kii Three, takes #1 slot for studio monitors.
- 2022-01-16:
- Added JBL 4305P (press release), with PS of 6.8 and LFX 38hz, which makes it #1 from US$2200/pair until US$5900/pair (where it drops to #2 spot). We need this measured ASAP!! ;)
- Added Neumann KH 80/120, as I felt I was too harsh in the first place by keeping them out, after community feedback.
 
Last edited:

hege

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What is the source for these "-6dB" bass figures? Many seem to be 3-5dB below manufacturer and ASR measurements.
 

Eetu

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Thanks for this!

Is there a reason you haven't included the Kef LS50 Wireless II? It has a higher pref score than the Kali IN series.

Also according to Genelec data the 8040B doesn't look as smooth as the 8030C. Perhaps the LFX would still help it achieve a higher score..
IMG_20211120_080417.jpg
IMG_20211119_174821.jpg
 
OP
sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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What is the source for these "-6dB" bass figures? Many seem to be 3-5dB below manufacturer and ASR measurements.
PIerre's github.

It's the Low Frequency Extension (LFX) score, which is computed when you calculate the preference score.
https://patents.google.com/patent/US8311232
The low frequency extension (LFX) and quality (LFQ) of the loudspeaker are the final two variables. LFX is defined by Equation 8:
LFX=log10(x SP-6dB re: y — LW(300 Hz-10 kHz))  (8)
where LFX is the log10 of the first frequency xSP below 300 Hz in the sound power curve, that is −6 dB relative to the mean level y_LW measured in listening window (LW) between 300 Hz-10 kHz. LFX is log-transformed to produce a linear relationship between the variable LFX and preference rating.
 

hege

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PIerre's github.

It's the Low Frequency Extension (LFX) score, which is computed when you calculate the preference score.

Live and learn.. I've read most of the stuff on this forum, but somehow missed the relation of these.. :)

Seems very optimistic numbers, but I guess as long as they are all calculated the same way it's fine..
 
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sweetchaos

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Thanks for this!

Is there a reason you haven't included the Kef LS50 Wireless II? It has a higher pref score than the Kali IN series.

Also according to Genelec data the 8040B doesn't look as smooth as the 8030C. Perhaps the LFX would still help it achieve a higher score..
View attachment 166773View attachment 166774
Missed it. I've added a new price point (under US$2800/pair) for the Kef LS50 Wireless 2's, as well as removed Kali's recommendations for $3800/pair, and $4000/pair, and replaced with the Kefs.

Yes, I believe LFX will help it. Once we have the spinorama, I'll update it of course.
 
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sweetchaos

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Meh, LFX for most actives is sort of arbitrary/meaningless anyway since they're almost all EQed to trade some headroom for extra extension, compared to a similar passive.
I'm not following. The actives have the deeper extension than passives, since they are EQ'd. But are you saying the LFX for actives is not representative?
 

Sancus

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I'm not following. The actives have the deeper extension than passives, since they are EQ'd. But are you saying the LFX for actives is not representative?

It's not representative because you can EQ any active to any amount of extension, almost. The difference between a -6dB point of 40hz and 30hz is just a filter, not a physical property of the speaker. And there's no standard, manufacturers tune their EQ to whatever they like.

For example, the JBL 708i has 38hz -6dB point and the 8341A has 39hz. Any guesses on which has more actual bass output when the 708i has a lot more woofer area and a 50% larger cabinet? :p This is why Genelecs often "run out of steam" for Amir when cheaper passives and less-aggressively tuned actives don't.

The LFX point on an active is just EQ smoke-and-mirrors without doing a CEA2010-style test of the woofer or at least looking at the distortion profile. And if you have your own EQ, or it's built into the speaker like GLM, you can pretty much change the -6dB point to ANYTHING you want -- the only question is when will you create too much distortion.

E: I'm not saying it's completely useless or you should redo your chart, more that worrying about +/- 10hz is pointless. Obviously no manufacturer is going to push it so far that the speaker doesn't even sound good at reasonable levels.... I hope lol.
 
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Daverz

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How can the Neumann KH 120A be $1500/pair and $3800/pair?
 
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sweetchaos

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How can the Neumann KH 120A be $1500/pair and $3800/pair?
It retails for US$1460/pair.

Under US$1500/pair, the closest competitor is Genelec 8030C's has a score of of 6.3. Since Neumann KH 120A is better (pref score 6.7), it's #1 spot at that price point.
Under US$3800/pair, the closest competitor is Genelec 8050B's has a score of of 6.3. Since Neumann KH 120A is better (pref score 6.7), it's #1 spot at that price point.
 

Pearljam5000

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It retails for US$1460/pair.

Under US$1500/pair, the closest competitor is Genelec 8030C's has a score of of 6.3. Since Neumann KH 120A is better (pref score 6.7), it's #1 spot at that price point.
Under US$3800/pair, the closest competitor is Genelec 8050B's has a score of of 6.3. Since Neumann KH 120A is better (pref score 6.7), it's #1 spot at that price point.
There is no way KH120 is better than 8050B and I've heard them both
In fact I would rank KH120 lower than 8030C
 

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The table while being a nice effort shows also the limitations of ranking loudspeakers just by the Harman score which ignores SPL abilities, distortions and suitable listening distances, like for example:

Under US$6700/pair:
NotesSpeakerPreference Score (no sub)LFX (Bass extension at -6db)
Most preferred speaker (ie. best preference score)GGNTKT M1*7.129hz
2nd-best in terms of preference scoreNeumann KH 120A6.742hz
Best bass output of top 5 ranked speakers (ignoring preference score)GGNTKT M1*7.129hz
Notable Mention: 3-way, highly recommended by AmirNeumann KH 310A6.230hz

No one who would compare these in real would chose the KH120 in that budget range as its SPL, deep bass and listening distance limited, I say that having owned them myself, they are very good compact nearfield monitors for small listening distances and not more.
 

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While the preference score is the only objective measure that we have, it's far from perfect to be used like that.

Around the ~2500$ mark you really need to audition these speakers yourself. the differences are way too minute.
 

dasdoing

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since many of these will be used in treated spaces could we possibly have something like a "treated room preference score"? because afaik the standard one has big emphasis on dispersion which becomes much less relevant in a treated room.

on a sidenote: i would go as far as even giving less emphasis on the FR, cause we are all EQing. the T5V HF boost is very easily EQed for example. done that it seams to be a better product than the Kali LP-6v2 for example
 

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Nice write-up. Interesting that JBL308p mkII seem to have went up in price a lot, two years ago I bought them for $400 locally and remember seeing them even lower in the states. Now they're $500+.
 

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There is no way KH120 is better than 8050B and I've heard them both
In fact I would rank KH120 lower than 8030C
Fully agree with @Pearljam5000. I have heard KH120 and 8030 side by side. Though KH120 is good but 8030 is way better and musical. But then KH310 is better than 8030 due to 3 way.
 

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PIerre's github.

It's the Low Frequency Extension (LFX) score, which is computed when you calculate the preference score.
https://patents.google.com/patent/US8311232

hello,
the software computes 2 values:
1) LFX from the Harman score
2) -3db (resp. -6dB) v.s. the mean freq across (300-10k Hz) for On Axis measurement.

the second one is the classical one (ex: Genelec 8361 official spec 30Hz at -6dB ; computed 29Hz)
 
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Tom C

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Thank you, @sweetchaos! Awesome effort, as always.
I find this super useful. It’s only when you start ranking the various options according to price and performance that things start to make sense and come into focus.
It’s interesting that for this list, there is a correlation between price and preference score. Also interesting how much more you have to spend at the upper levels to get a significant increase in preference score.
I don’t think any reasonable person recommends buying something expensive based on preference score only. But it is a handy and helpful tool.
 

dfuller

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since many of these will be used in treated spaces could we possibly have something like a "treated room preference score"? because afaik the standard one has big emphasis on dispersion which becomes much less relevant in a treated room.

on a sidenote: i would go as far as even giving less emphasis on the FR, cause we are all EQing. the T5V HF boost is very easily EQed for example. done that it seams to be a better product than the Kali LP-6v2 for example
In a treated room, pay more attention to listening window than anything else.

That said: Preference score is a pretty poor indicator of actual listening experience with these speakers, IMO. It places too much emphasis on early reflections which for most active speakers is not really how they're meant to be used - most of these are studio monitors which are meant for near to midfield listening in well-treated rooms.
 
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